Blog Archives

How to Network at Holiday Parties

It's that time of the year again! Learn five tips from Gilda Bonanno on how to be an effective networker at holiday parties. Gain insight on how to put your best foot forward at any industry party.

© Gilda Bonanno


About Gilda Bonanno:

Gilda Bonanno helps you transform your communication, presentation and leadership skills so you can have more confidence, influence and success. She has worked with leading organizations, including GE, Travelers, Praxair, Assa Abloy, Wells Fargo and Yale University, on four continents from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.Since 2006, Gilda has delivered thousands of in-person programs, her YouTube channel has received over 1 million views and her digital newsletter has reached subscribers in over 45 countries since 2008.

Gilda has a proven track record of partnering for results with people in a variety of industries and at all organizational levels, from C-level executives to sales teams to frontline managers.  She collaborates with them to help them lead more effectively, communicate more clearly and create and deliver more powerful and engaging presentations so they get results.

Sign up at to receive her twice-monthly newsletter for practical tips you can use to improve your communication, networking and presentation skills. 




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New Member Spotlight

Meet some of SMPS Connecticut's newest members:


Luke Glendening
Marketing Manager, Turner Construction Company

Luke Glendening serves as the Marketing Manager for Turner Construction Company’s Shelton Business Unit. Luke joined Turner in 2001 and has served in the marketing and sales capacities for Turner for over 16 years. Luke manages the marketing and communications efforts for the company and supports the business development, VDC Group and estimating departments.

David C. Brownell
Northeast Director of Marketing and Business Development, PES Structural Engineers

David C. Brownell is Northeast Director of Marketing and Business Development or PES Structural Engineers, a nationally acclaimed structural engineering firm, headquartered in Atlanta, GA with a New England regional office in West Hartford, CT.

David concentrates on introducing PES’s notable engineering abilities to the New England AEC/O marketplace while cultivating partnerships with designers and uncovering opportunities with developers and owners.

David is a 30 + year AEC/O industry veteran, who’s business intelligence and passion focuses on emerging technologies, building information modeling (BIM), building informatics & data collection/exchange and digital media which includes social media utilization, analytics and content creation/management.

David is co-chair & a founding member of the Construction Institute’s BIM Council, Professional Women in Construction (PWC), Boston Society of Architects (BSA) BIM Roundtable, Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) Emerging Technology Committee, National Institute Building Sciences (NIBS), BIM Forum, buildingSMART International US chapter (bSa) and the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS).

Amy Graver
Principal & Creative Director, Elements

Amy Graver is the Principal and Creative Director of Elements, an integrated strategic marketing and design agency. Amy works closely with clients to identify their strategic marketing, digital and design needs and develops effective strategies with her team to meet and exceed clients' goals. Her work has been recognized and awarded both nationally and internationally by leading industry publications such as Print, Package Design Magazine, HOW, Communication Arts, Graphic Design USA, and more.

Her penchant for details was honed while working as a photojournalist for The Boston Globe, where she began her career combing her love of writing and learning to see beyond the photo. She honed those skills as a creative director to embrace communication and design challenges and look for unexpected solutions for her clients.

Amy is a contributing writer to several publications and regularly gives seminars to various organizations on the topics of integrating emerging technology into marketing strategy, SEO/SEM, marketing and creative communications.

A fierce proponent of design, Amy is a co-founder and past vice president of the AIGA Connecticut chapter and served on the board of the Connecticut Art Directors Club for eleven years, two as president. She was awarded a “40 under 40” Award from Business New Haven and as a “Designer to Watch” by Graphic Design USA Magazine. She frequently lectures to students, is featured in print or has articles published in such industry leading publications as HOW Magazine, Print Magazine, Package Design Magazine and Communication Arts and is frequently asked to judge national design competitions. In 2012, her best selling book Best Practices for Graphic Designers, Grids & Page Layouts was published by Rockport Publishers and she is currently writing a second book on marketing and design. Amy also currently serves on the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and serves on the board of Package Design Magazine.


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The Future I Never Knew

People all have stories. I am honored to be invited to share my story with SMPS CT on December 13th. I hope all of you will be able to share your story in a formal or informal way during your career. Sharing your story will make you stop and think, and reflect on your life’s decisions. We are so busy living our story that we rarely get a chance to read or reflect on our finished “chapters.” Sharing your story with others forces you to do this, you always learn from it, and can apply the insight to your future chapters.

My professional career started back in 1987, when I was hired as a graphic designer in the marketing department of the largest Northeast multidisciplinary design firm Russell Gibson von Dohlen (RGvD), in Farmington, CT (now known as SLAM). That is how I entered into the design and building industry, and to this day the roots that were started in the 80’s continue to expand and replant. My LinkedIn profile shows the timing of these career changes. Truth be told, I never thought I was going to work for an architectural firm. I wonder how many marketers out there thought the same thing? I also never thought I would own my own design practice for 24 years, or even more so now, work full time for ESPN as their Director of Facilities Design. Notice a pattern here: a lot of “nevers.” Things I didn’t think of or plan for. The things I did think of were staying true to my passion, inspiring others, and making sure I never forgot the people who helped me throughout the years. I’ll dive into more detail on all during the fireside chat.

I’d like to leave you with a few of my favorite commencement speeches that have a lot of passion and insight to offer those that are starting out in their careers, as well as to those that have a lot of chapters completed. The advice is timeless, as we are all life-long learners and marketers.

U.S. Rep. Mia Love's Commencement Speech 2017
Mia Love’s speech this past May included - Get ready to rise. Am I prepared to rise? Rise with, not over others. Get comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations. There is also a fun story about a hot air balloon ride and her son. I was fortunate to be on the stage as University of Hartford’s Alumni President, and hearing her speech live was truly invigorating.

Steve Jobs' Stanford Commencement Address 2005
Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, had a point in his speech that is so true… “you can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect the dots looking backwards, and you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. Follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that would make all the difference.”

The Wisdom of a Third Grade Dropout Will Change Your Life - Rick Rigsby
Rick Rigsby’s speech is very entertaining, and so moving. There are many nuggets, it is a gold mine. There is even a book made from the speech.

Looking forward to meeting everyone soon, and having warm, inspiring conversations on December 13!

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Best Five

We've scoured the web so that you don't have to - check out the best marketing articles November had to offer: 

1. Architectural Photography: Cheapest Price Doesn't Always Win & Why

2. 14 Examples of Bad Bid Decisions and How They are Killing Your Win Rate

3. 18 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018

4. An Eight-Step Guide to Building Your Marketing Budget 

5. Seven Ways to get the Most out of a Client Satisfaction Survey

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Event Management and Birthday Bash Program

There was an atmosphere of celebration at our November 15th program - SMPS Connecticut members and guests not only learned the latest event management tips and tricks but also celebrated SMPS Connecticut’s 35th birthday. The event took place at Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut. Real Art Ways is an alternative multidisciplinary arts organization that presents and supports contemporary artists. The venue provided the perfect space for our attendees and panelists to mingle and discuss the ins-and-outs of event management.

SMPS Connecticut President, Sharon Pomeroy, kicked-off the event sharing the chapter’s history, including its origins as the Southern New England chapter, and its journey to becoming the SMPS Connecticut chapter we know today.  Sharon took the time to recognize the contributions of past presidents to our chapter's success. Past presidents in attendance included (left to right) Theresa Casey, Maria Loitz, Jim Bancroft, Cathy DeFrances, and Geryl Rose. 

Our panel included three event management experts: Amanda Mueller, Senior Vice President, Cashman + Katz Integrated Communications; Danielle Casey, Director of Corporate Sales & Catering, Present Company; and Lindsey Burke, Marketing Specialist, SystemOne. The panelists shared horror stories of missing equipment and late vendors. The panelists agreed that it's important to always have a plan b - whether that's an emergency kit you always keep in your car or an extra tradeshow banner you keep in your suitcase. Danielle Casey stressed the importance of keeping a checklist and assigning responsibilities to keep your team focused and on track. Our attendees questioned the value of new technologies and electronic media. Lindsey Burke shared her experience that the latest technologies, such as SnapChat filters, don't always provide the best return on investment and that sometimes going back to the basics is the best way to go.

After the panel, the birthday celebrations began. Everyone was treated to birthday cupcakes and t-shirts as our guests mingled and explored the venue.  As part of our celebrations we raffled off a free annual membership - this awesome prize went to Cathie Reese of Geomatrix Productions, Inc. - congratulations Cathie!



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2018 Call for MAX Talk Speakers Open

SMPS Connecticut is excited to announce our Call for Submissions for the 2018 SMPS CT MAX Talks! Download the Call here. The deadline to submit your presentation idea is January 19, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

If you missed last year’s SMPS CT MAX Talks, you missed out! But luckily, thanks to our in-kind sponsor Geomatrix Productions, we have beautifully produced video of each of our three MAX presenters on our Vimeo channel.

Having a professionally edited video to add to your portfolio is just one of the benefits to being selected as a MAX presenter: MAX speakers will also have the benefit of professional presentation coaching provided by Gilda Bonnano LLC, as well as have the opportunity to be seen as a thought leader in the industry and bring more awareness to a cause or idea.

What is MAX?

MAX events are creative programs, centered on short-form sessions meant to be a showcase for speakers exchanging great, well-formed, marketing-led ideas and inspiration, through storytelling, presentations, and media.

Why 15 minutes?

The MAX model of short storytelling sessions works in part because it captures an audience for a short period of time and inherently encourages focus and concentration. We place an approximate time of 15 minutes on MAX sessions, so that we can keep a tight, predictable schedule in the line-up of MAX sessions.

What is a great, well-formed story or idea?

A great story is more than a report and a great idea is more than a list of facts. Great stories and ideas take specific evidence or observations and present a larger conclusion for the audience. We are looking for great stories and ideas that challenge our thought process, that make us reimagine norms, provoke us to make changes, ignite our creative engines, and inspire us to think differently.

Questions? Email

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It's Our 35th Birthday!

Today is SMPS CT’s 35th birthday - on this day in 1982, SMPS CT was officially chartered as the 22nd chapter of SMPS. As part of this monumental occasion, we are starting a blog to share with you all the incredible things our chapter and its members are up to. It’s been a journey filled with achievement and accomplishment for our Connecticut chapter over the past three and a half decades – including recently graduating to a Large Chapter and winning the SMPS Membership Derby at the 2017 Regional Conference. We have grown into an industry-recognized organization known for its top-notch programing and professional development. More importantly, we have become a source of knowledge and career advancement for our members.

Check out the video below to learn more about our recent accomplishments! There’s a lot to celebrate!

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